Domenico Pozzovivo (CSF-Navigare) picked a good time to win his first race as a professional, winning Saturday’s decisive climbing stage at the Settimana Lombarda in northern Italy.
The 26-year-old attacked out of a lead, seven-man group and held off veteran Davide Rebellin (Diquigiovanni) to win by two seconds in the 159km queen stage starting and finishing in Flero.
Italian Daniele Pietopolli (LPR) finished third at two seconds back as part of a group of six chasers that also included Rebellin to grab the leader’s jersey with just one stage remaining.
Pietropolli takes over the leader’s jersey from LPR teammate Alessandro Petacchi, who finished well back in the field after holding the jersey since Tuesday’s victory in the team time trial to open the race.
Slotting into second is Colombian climber Mauricio Soler (Barloworld), with Rebellin settling into third overall.
Soler, back to top health after a string of injuries in 2008, was the day’s main protagonist after attacking on the Maddalena climb. He was caught some 5km short of the line, when Pozzovivo attacked out of the chase in the final kilometer.
The race concludes Sunday with the 131km sixth and final stage from Montello to Bergamo.